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New research, led by Professor Anindita Roy, is to be funded by families affected by childhood cancer through Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG)'s Special Named Fund programme.

Ruby’s ‘Live Kindly, Live Loudly’ FundFred Bennett’s ‘Don’t Look Down’ Fund, Elin’s Sparkle Fund, Toti Worboys FundJosh’s Gold Star FundThe Harley James Reynolds FundThomas Fight TALLAriana’s Rainbow Friends and Seren’s ALL Stars have all contributed to Anindita's project - alongside others -  that will improve understanding of why acute lymphoblastic leukaemia can be so hard to treat.

Although treatment has progressed over the last 40 years so that nine out of 10 children with leukaemia now survive, there are still patients whose cancer comes back or doesn’t respond to treatment. These cases are classed as ‘high-risk', and doctors need to know more about how this happens and why.

Professor Roy’s project, titled ‘Understanding molecular mechanisms that drive high-risk childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)’, aims to find out how certain genes make ALL resist treatment or come back after treatment (relapse).  

She said: “It is often difficult to cure patients once they have relapsed, so we need a better understanding of the mechanisms that make these leukaemias high-risk in order to develop effective treatments.”

Professor Roy and team have found genes that leukaemia cells need to survive. In this project, she will look at how the cancer cells behave with and without these genes. This will show exactly how the genes allow the leukaemia to relapse and resist treatment.

She said: “As a clinician myself, I never lose sight of why we are doing the research - always for the benefit of the children affected by leukaemia.

“We hope that our efforts will eventually lead to a meaningful improvement in survival and quality of life for children with high-risk leukaemia.”


Read the full story on the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group website